7 Easy Family Recipes from Royale Chef Jeff Seizer

Royale chef and family man Jeff Seizer gives the food of his childhood a North Carolina spin.
by Addie Ladner

“Our region is such a wonderful one for growing. We have all the vegetables here so it’s easy to eat seasonally,” says Royale chef Jeff Seizer. Here are some of his favorites to cook with his family.

Dinner from the Grill

“I love to finish anything from the grill with a big squeeze of fresh lemon, EVOO and some thin-sliced radishes. The flavor of a bright herb marinade complements anything that comes from the gill,” says Seizer.

Chicken & Vegetable Ingredients

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts
Vegetables such as corn, ramps, eggplant,
yellow peppers or summer squash

Herb Marinade Ingredients

1 cup each of basil, parsley and cilantro
Fresh herbs of your choice (in addition to
the above, or as a substitution)
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground fennel
1 tablespoon Zatar (optional)
1 tablespoon chili flakes (or less depending
on desired spice level)
Juice of one lemon
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients except olive oil in a blender or food processor. Slowly add olive oil until combined.

Marinate the chicken and vegetables (separately) overnight or for at least four hours.

Steak Fries Ingredients

4 to 6 russet potatoes
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

To prepare the steak fries: Wash and cut potatoes lengthwise, about 8 fries per potato. Toss fries in a bowl with rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees until tender. Cool and reserve for the grill.

To finish potatoes on the grill: Once the grill is hot, place a cast iron pan on a hot spot with enough oil to coat the pan. Toss in the potatoes and fry until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a plate and lightly salt.

To grill the chicken and vegetables: The chicken can go right from the marinade to the grill. Season with salt once it’s on. Keep an eye on the chicken so it does not catch fire. Don’t be afraid to move it around. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

When the chicken is almost done, throw on your corn and other vegetables. Grill until nice and charred, about 10 minutes.

Plate the chicken, vegetables and steak fries, and enjoy!

Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Muffins

“We enjoy Jeff’s amazing cooking to the max, but I am always trying to incorporate healthy items into our meals. These muf- fins are so versatile and easy to make. You can substitute various fruits, citrus or herbs you have and kids love them as breakfast or snack,” says Sally Stark-Dreifus, Seizer’s wife.

Ingredients

2 cups ground oats or oat flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups fresh berries
Zest of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then gradually add them to the dry mixture until you get a smooth, pudding-like consistency. Fold in the berries. Portion out into a muffin tray. If desired, top with additional lemon zest and a sprinkling of sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients

454 grams (nearly 2 cups) sourdough
starter
680 grams (5 ½ cups) whole wheat flour
100 grams (1 cup) bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
50 grams (½ cup) vegetable oil

Lightly mix all ingredients by hand or with a mixer to make an unfinished dough (it should not look fully mixed). Rest for 20 minutes.

Knead the dough until smooth and slightly sticky, then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Let rise for 60-90 minutes, until it has more than doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured table and fold a couple of times. Divide dough in half and loosely shape each into a loaf. Place the loaves in lightly greased bread pans and let rise again for 60-90 minutes, until the dough has risen above the rim of the pan. Near the end of rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown (an internal temperature of 210 degrees). Rest in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a resting rack. Let the bread cool before removing, then enjoy!

Maple BLT

“Mayo is the best for pan-toasting bread— better than butter,” says Seizer. 

Ingredients

Slab bacon for a thicker cut
Maple syrup
Fresh cracked black pepper
Fresh local tomatoes
Lettuce or leafy green of choice
1 garlic glove mashed
Good quality bread
Good quality butter and mayonnaise

Place bacon on a baking sheet and brush with maple syrup. Sprinkle fresh-cracked black pepper on top. Bake at 375 degrees to your preferred texture.

Pre-season the sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Spread mayonnaise on both pieces of bread. Heat a pan to medium. Add a pat of butter and mashed glove of garlic. Toast bread to desired crispness.

Assemble sandwich and enjoy.

Sourdough Pizza

“A scale is a great tool if you’re into baking and pizza. Get creative with your toppings (corn, thinly sliced zucchini, various cured meats) and be generous with your flour. Bake on sheet trays or a preheated pizza stone,” says Seizer.

Ingredients:

500 grams (a little more than 2 cups) flour
312 grams (1 1/3 cups) of warm water
175 grams (¾ cup) sourdough starter
38 grams (3 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
13 grams (3 teaspoons) of salt
13 grams (3 teaspoons) of sugar
1 gram (½ teaspoon) instant active yeast

Weigh out all the ingredients, then mix in a bowl with your hands. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and leave out to rise at room temp for 2 to 3 hours.

Once it has begun to rise, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Take out the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Separate into three equal portions, give each section a quick knead and mold into balls.

Place each ball into individual greased bowls or small storage containers, then return to the refrigerator for 24 hours. Pull out dough one hour before you want to bake it.

To prepare pizza: preheat oven (with pizza stone, if you have one) to 500 degrees. Stretch dough onto a pizza peal or sheet pan and top with desired ingredients. Bake in oven for 6-10 minutes.